Walking into Chancheng Central Hospital, Dr. Vikalp embraced us with a big smile and showed us around with ease, saying hello to medical workers and patients warmly. “This hospital is like my home and people who work here are like my family.” he said.
Dr. Vikalp has a special connection with Foshan. His Chinese name is Huang Xiaolong（黄小龙）, which often surprises people as it appears to combine the first name of Bruce Lee and the last name of Huang Feihong, both of who are famous kungfu masters in Foshan. “Actually I got my Chinese name from my teacher. Her last name is Huang and I was born in dragons year, 1988.”
His friends love to call him Neil as his nickname over his real name, and thus people get used to calling Dr. Neil. He had studied in Jilin University, majoring in otolaryngology. “My teachers always had high expectations from me and they always said Xiaolong you have the potential to do a lot more things for people. As a Doctor, I always wanted to do something for the society.”
Dr. Vikalp was working with his colleagues.
Being a doctor is not Neil’s first choice of career. When he was young, he wanted to be a pilot. In order to make his father’s dream come true, he studied hard at science but at the same time, he was angry at the choice until one day that changed his attitude. He got sick and went to the Indian public hospital in a small town in Vijayawada，a city in south India, as he was studying there for a few months for exams, away from his home and family. Scared and helpless, he was all alone and didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, the people in the hospital took good care of him with kindness. “Before I thought I was doing this for my father, and then I realized that I had to do it for the better life of patients.” Dr. Neil said.
After working in Foshan for a couple of months, Dr. Neil always felt that even though he tried his best to help his patients in every way he was not doing enough. As a foreigner, he understands how foreign patients felt and how hard it is to face the language barrier. And there were other patients that needed help from doctors from different specialties. “I had this idea in my mind and couldn’t help thinking about it all the time. One day when I was having coffee, I wrote my ideas on a tissue and that’s how the name of IHCU(International Healthcare Unit) was born.”
Dr. Neil first started to change medical workers’ attitude towards foreign patients in the ENT Department. He held training classes in the hospital to familiarize people with common English medical conversations for about 10 months last year. Meanwhile, he also made friends with doctors in other departments and asked them to help foreign patients. When foreigners feel sick, they can contact Dr. Neil, which is well known in some foreigner groups. He will patiently listen to them and figure out the basic situation. Then he recommends the patients to specific doctors to get treatment, follows up the whole treatment process, and sets up a record for every patient.
“We are not just a translation group,” he said, “Through IHCU we are not only helping them in the whole process of seeing a doctor but also trying our best to protect them because we honestly do care about our patients. That’s the biggest difference.” Dr. Neil thinks that patient are not only facing health problems, but also sick from their heart, being scared of going to hospital and scared of doctors treating them. If the doctor can take time to comfort patients properly and make them believe in the transparency during medical treatment, he can know more about the problems and help them better.
Dr. Vikalp on operation
As a doctor, Dr. Neil received a lot of thank you notes. In his words, a small thank you makes your whole day become better. He remembered that an Arabic couple came to him with a seriously bleeding nose. The wife needed to have operation under local anaesthesia for the sake of the baby. “I promise her husband that I will be there for her.” So Dr. Neil went into the operating room, held her hands, put her husband on speaker and comforted her. After the operation, the husband said to Neil that he would never forget this with tears in his eyes. “It’s my duty as a doctor, but for them it means a lot.” Dr. Neil said. Few months later, he came across the couple with a baby girl and felt very happy for them.
“I am a big fan of Kung-fu.” Neil started to get used to the life in Foshan, an ancient city with many Kung-fu stars. He thinks that Bruce Lee is not only a movie star but also a great philosopher, whose attitude towards life is greatly appreciated by him. Fluent in Chinese and English, Dr. Neil can live here more conveniently. However, it also causes some troubles. “People are often surprised at how good my Chinese is.” Once a food delivery guy didn’t give him the take-away until he confirmed that Dr. Neil was the one “sounded like Chinese” on the telephone.
Blood donation camp and little doctor open day event were popular.
“I had been working all the time before and seldom got time to go out. Now it’s time for me to meet more people.” Dr. Neil has held various activities like international free medical fair, blood donation camps, little doctors event and is planning to hold more events for foreigners to participate in. As he sees it, giving something back to the society is as important as earning goodness from it.
Dr. Vikalp crossed Tongji Bridge with friends, which is a traditional folk event in Foshan.
We asked him a question: “How would you describe yourself? A thinker or a doer?” “A dreamer that makes his dreams do come true.” Dr. Neil answered without hesitation.